|Northern Marsh Orchid|
The botanical interest has shifted to other areas of the croft where the soils are poorer (not that any part can be said to be anything other than marginal) and we now have six species of orchid in flower: early marsh, northern marsh, heath fragrant, heath spotted and both greater and lesser butterfly orchids. There may be a seventh, common spotted orchid, because a few plants have the characteristic long middle lobe on the labellum but I am not sure whether it is not just variability in the heath spotted orchids. I need to take a closer look.
Over a 3 to 4 week period, the early marsh appear first, followed by northern marsh and lesser butterfly together with a few heath fragrant and heath spotted but the majority of these last species come later along with greater butterfly orchids. This year the orchids started flowering a couple of weeks later than usual.
|Heath Fragrant Orchid|
|Heath Spotted Orchid|
|Early Marsh Orchid|
I have casually looked at the associated plants and plan to make a more ordered and structured survey this year. I have also tried to get some indication of soil quality but the commercial garden tests available provide no useful information so I am a bit stuck there.
|Lesser Butterfly Orchid|
|Greater Butterfly Orchid|
|Hybrid probably Northern x Heath Spotted|
I have seen no otters lately and there are no signs anywhere either. I am hoping Steve and Gill are still seeing them at the other end of the village. At the start of the month the trail camera was still picking up an otter visiting the 'cliff holt' regularly between 10pm and 4am but I have had to remove the camera because bracken has grown too tall over the otter run triggering the camera in every slight breeze.
|Small Heath Butterfly|